In this photo taken Sunday, June 21, 2020, an infectious disease specialist, left, takes a sample from Dr. Reagan Taban Augustino, right, now a coronavirus patient himself under quarantine, at the Dr John Garang Infectious Diseases Unit in Juba, South Sudan. The United Nations says the country’s outbreak is growing rapidly, with nearly 1,900 cases, including more than 50 health workers infected, and at the only laboratory in the country that tests for the virus a team of 16 works up to 16-hour days slogging through a backlog of more than 5,000 tests. (AP Photo/Charles Atiki Lomodong)
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South Sudan Imposes Lockdown As COVID-19 Cases Surge

South Sudan announced a month-long lockdown Wednesday banning social gatherings, classes, religious services, and political rallies following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

“Due to the recent surge in the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and around the globe and as precautionary measures for all public and private sectors, the National Taskforce on COVID-19 has banned all social gatherings such as sporting events, religious events including Sunday church prayers, Salat ul Juma mosque prayers, funerals, weddings, and political rallies,” said Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, vice president and chairperson of the National Taskforce on COVID-19.

All pre-schools, secondary schools, and universities will also be closed except classes scheduled for examinations with the observation of strict protective measures.

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Akol also directed public institutions and private sectors to make provisions to allow non-essential staff to stay home on pay leave.

Public transport will operate at half capacity and the wearing of face masks will be mandatory; law enforcement agencies have been asked to take actions to impose the order.

In the last 48 hours, South Sudan registered more than 100 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country’s tally to 4,267 since April 5 last year, when the first case was registered. It also recorded one new fatality, bringing the death toll to 66, and registered 3,634 recoveries.

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